Tuesday, May 11, 2021

The 9 am Mass


The 9 am Mass

SOMETIMES I am struck by the fervor of some Catholics. Sometimes they are fanatical and border on fundamentalism. They are just as destructive with their words as others of the ilk are with bombs, the bullet and drone warfare. I would like to think that Catholic fundamentalism is dwindling, especially thanks to COVID-19 which forced millions of Catholics out of the church pews and into their armchairs and sofas in front of their wide screens.

Many have attended the TV Mass several times a day, others continue celebrate the TV Mass every day. The thing is that multitudes have come to God on TV. What is not to love? The Pope’s daily live Mass was a hit with millions. Others have become avid fans of Masses in the US, various parts of Italy and Ireland. The TV Mass is not intrusive. You can do what you like. Click for hold, for that cup of tea or coffee, toilet or medicinal break and meet a medical requirement.

The TV Mass is at your call. Will the Pope ban the TV Mass because more and more Catholics are opting for the Mass in their homes? It may come to that because parish funds are not only dwindling but there is little left in the coffers. However, Rome has plenty and it is always asking for more. It could be an awfully long wait though. Rome is also feeling the penny pinch.

On the other hand, COVID and other pandemics permitting, there are the true faithful who will not abandon their parish. Most of these true believers, aged 50 and more, are to be found at the daily Mass. The Mass I am writing about, we will call it the 9.00 Mass. My wife and I would every Saturday morning and later after I retired from work, I would go as often as I could.

I am not writing about anyone specific and while it is fiction it is a fiction created by my life in the Catholic church around the world. I am not a fundamentalist, I am just your everyday, average Catholic. Being of Goan origin, some of the fervour

The first person who is usually standing outside the front doors of the church, waiting to be let in is Mildred Raphaeli. She is of Maltese descent but born and bred in Australia, third or fourth generation, I forget which. After Mass I usually spend a little time with her. That is pretty unusual because she does not chat with anyone else. It is not that she is unfriendly. She is a mental wreck. Oh, she speaks just as well as anyone. Her memory is fine, maybe too fine. She told me once that her specialists and doctors suggested to that some memories are best left in a hole in the ground. They turn out to be nightmares. After years and years of seeking respite and escape from these nightmares, she has learned to live with them. With some help from a psychiatrist and a psychologist she has managed finds moments of peace, even minutes of peace sometimes, by mentally driving out the demons in her head. She knows that she can get them out of her head. But they keep coming back. She given up on medication, pills, pills, jabs and shrinkology of this kind that that kind and medicines from miracle workers of the predominantly fraud variety.

These days she has learnt to live with her demons with her God as her only ally. She told me once that she was no afraid of anything anymore. She has faced her truth and knows that respite will only come when she picks up her ticket to Heaven. She is waiting for death and sooner the better. She prays all the time anywhere.

While at Mass, she regularly stands up, spreads her arms as she was on some earthly cross. Her face is often a mess of tears and no one bats an eyelid. Most people know Mildred, though not in any detail but they pray for her too.

Another thing, Mildred is alone in this world. She never married. She was an only child and the Raphaeli family tree is not even the vaguest memory anymore. Generations have come and generations have gone to their Maker.

I had told her many years ago, when she was 40-something that if she needed me, I would try and be there for her. We have been going to the same church for 46 years. She is now 86. A bit frail. Withered and weathered but spritely as her age and long mental illness ill permit. I had asked her once what her main ailment was and she would say “One day, before I catch the bus I will tell”. What bus I wondered and asked her, but she would not say. One day it dawned on me that Mildred was talking about the bus that plies the highway to Heaven.

Six years ago, on her 80th birthday, my wife and I went to her home (she was living on her own with home help and other assistance provided by the New South Wales’ My Aged Care department which does one heck of job helping aged folks to live in their own homes for as long as they are able) and took her to our home where we surprised her with a birthday party. Three or the priests from the parish, a few of the folks from the 9 am Mass and family were there. She cried the whole night and when Father James consoled her at one point, she told him: “They are tears of joy and thanksgiving.”

Things changed rapidly after that birthday. Here is some of her story. I write this with the hope that if you see someone acting a little, or a lot, odd, mad, insane, or anything that makes you squirm, you will be able to be more at ease in the future.

Mildred was a beautiful baby with magical golden curls and a smile and a laugh to die for. Growing up she was everybody’s favourite beautiful baby. Even as a young child, she revelled in life. She loved painting, reading, writing stories, sports, poetry and all those things that take a young girl’s fancy. She was friends with everyone and did not ever a foe of any kind. Some mothers said she was the perfect child. Her mother tried to put a stop to that kind of talk, fearing the dreaded evil eye, black magic and this and that of the ilk.

Then came the Devil’s Day which destroyed her life. She was walking home as usual when a car came to a screeching halt beside her. She thought nothing of it and waved a friendly hello to whoever was in the car and carried on walking home without giving a second thought to anything in particular. She was even smiling to herself. She remembered that because she was going to share her excellent school results with her mum and dad, both of whom dotted on her.

She found herself in hell but barely alive. A victim of paedophilia. She inched her way to live one day at a time but, she was never whole. She went through childhood, youth, womanhood, held together like a matchstick doll, fragile, living the memory of her hell like it was yesterday. Her mind, like the rest of body, was held together by flimsy invisible threads made possible doctors and medicines of the mind … they were at a loss, they could not fix her.

Many, many years ago, she found some comfort in her local church and day by day she grew to feeling a little peace each time she knelt in “her” pew, which became her very own special place and most folks left her alone there.

One day, she told me that she was waiting for the bus. I was bemused, she usually walked home, or we gave her a lift in our car. Why, I wondered. Oh, she said, the bus to heaven, it is coming soon.

A few days later, she caught that bus. She was gone without a trace. There were just five people at her funeral. It seems she never existed… except in the hearts of one or two people who come regularly to the 9 am Mass.


ANTONIO SALVATORE was 90 the other day. The front pew on the right-hand side of the church is reserved for him, he has made it his own. These days he does not say much, his English was never brilliant but we managed a conversation everyday while we sat outside in the sunshine waiting to go in for the 9 am Mass. Tonio lost his wife 20 years ago and his children and their offspring are spread all around the world, including Italy, the land of his birth. Giovanni Capricio is his best friend and acted as an interpreter.

Antonio knows the bus is coming for him. He is hoping and praying that he will be around for this 100th birthday and one or two of his children will be here to raise a glass or two of vino. In Italian, albeit slow Italian, he has a regularly chuckle. When I asked why the 9 am Mass, he said he has been coming for the past few decades to build his assets (his heavenly bank balance). He is hoping that he will have enough in his account to allow him a direct entry into the promised land. Sunday Mass is also something of a social event for him because he meets up with the few Italian families left in the surrounding suburbs. Someone always takes him home for lunch. He loves the time he spends with his families. Thanks to the internet, he can watch Italian movies and some English movies with Italian subtitles.

Tonio was a builder and for many decades owned a larger construction outfit which built most of the homes in the surrounding suburbs. He is alone now and when you mention his wife, a tear or two accompanied by a large smile light his face up. Each night (or day) one of his children, their respective partners or the one of the grand or great grandchildren share some face time with him. “They keep me alive,” he tells Joe (Giovanni). I would love to have know his life story, especially the early days in Australia but time never allows that at the bells signals the start of the Mass.

There are, of course, more women than men at the 9 am Mass. At the end of the Mass, they take over the church and recite the Rosary, special intentions, various litanies and devotions. The Statue of Our Lady with the Infant Jesus is always well decked with flowers and when all the communal praying is done, many stand in front of the “Mother Mary” and beg her help. There is a note pinned to the statue: Please do not touch the statue, better to be safe than sorry in these Covid-times.

The women recite their prayers with a fervour that all their own and a precision of voice that is not out of place where the spoken word requires military precision. I don’t doubt for a moment that their intensity paints their devotion perfectly.

There is also a note at the altar of the dead: Please do not attempt to light these candles, they are electric. Most people have become accustomed to that and someone or the other will run their fingers on the candles to light them. Some will also put some coins in the money box for their intentions.

The 9 am Mass is for the aged. It is very rare to see children of school age (except on Fridays when there is a separate Mass for the children of the adjoining school).

Death is taking its toll in many ways. Catholic churches around the world are desperately short of priests and it has been so for a very long time and paedophile priests is not the only reason. Whatever, the reason, services had to be curtailed. African priests have been in the UK for many decades. Now priests from India, the Philippines, Sir Lanka, Pacific Islands, wherever are filling the vacancies, but there are not enough of them. Some churches are training their own priests, from youth to priesthood. The are working out well.

The complexion of Catholic churches in Sydney is changing from all white to most brown skinned. The 9 am Mass used to be all white, with one or two brown spots. Today the brown spots are the dominant number. At one church I know, the Europeans congregate at a Saturday Mass, a few are sprinkled through the rest of the Masses on Sunday.

The face of the Catholic Church in parts of Sydney has changed forever.

White priests are slowly becoming a lost tribe, so is Benediction and the Angelus. The Novena is disappearing, too. I wonder if the TV Mass will replace everything Catholic and religion will become completely virtual? If it isn't already.

After all, even at the 9 am Mass, we are waiting in readiness for that bus.


Based on some folks I have met during my life.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Olaf Ribeiro decorated as "Champion of Trees"


Dr Olaf Ribeiro, Champion of Trees


Background and introduction for the proclamation agenda bill


In Recognition of Dr. Olaf Ribeiro: Dedicated Bainbridge Island Volunteer and Consummate Teacher and Storyteller


Dr. Olaf Ribeiro is one of those rare gems of a human being who makes the world a better place.  He certainly deserves to be recognized for his years of service and dedication to Bainbridge Island and its citizens, including the trees.  Among his many services to the community was his time spent saving historic trees, such as the Blakely Japanese Maple, and teaching through his Bainbridge Historical Museum Historic Tree Tours and nature walks.  He guided fungi tours at IslandWood that could lead even the uncertain neophyte to an incredible understanding and appreciation for these amazing life forms.  He would gleefully--yes, gleefully!--step into the woods to measure trees for tour participants and invite them to help and learn how to age trees.  He shared wonderful stories of his misadventures of missteps taken in the woods leading to unfortunate injuries, all while smiling.  He shared inspiring, heartwarming stories of researchers discovering cures for disease among the beloved trees and fungi of the world.  Through every moment on a walk in the woods, Olaf's passion for his work and phenomenal knowledge and expertise would shine through.  During his guided walks, his laugh would ring through the forest like the seemingly endless rings of an old growth tree! 


Bainbridge Island is a more beautiful place for all the trees Olaf planted and fought to protect, for his lifetime of dedication, and for all the children and adults who have been inspired by his enthusiasm.  I am grateful to those of you who have chosen to honor Dr. Olaf Ribeiro for his service to our community.


Thank you,

Christine Perkins

Bainbridge Island


Historic cherry trees moved from Bainbridge High School to Sakai Middle School

From Dr. Olaf Ribeiro’s book, Historic, Champion & Unique Trees of Bainbridge Island, WA, published in 2019:

Cherry Trees (Prunus var. Kwanzan):

These trees are located at Sonoji Sakai Intermediate School - 9343 NE Sportsman Club Road and can be seen on the hillside above the parking lot.  In 1933, they were planted by the Japanese, Issei (first generation) at Bainbridge High School, to honor the first class of graduating Nisei (second generation) from Bainbridge High School. These trees were a majestic sight in spring when their blossoms were much admired. In 2006 the school superintendent let it be known that the trees were in danger of being removed since they were in the way of the proposed new High School Auditorium. The cost of moving them to another location was considered prohibitive. With the help of island historian Gerry Elfendahl and arborist Olaf Ribeiro, a campaign was launched to save the historic cherry trees. With a very generous donation from islander Sue Cooley, saving the trees became a reality. An arborist crew from Seattle was brought over to help move them to the hillside at Sonoji Sakai Intermediate School with the cooperation of the principal Joann Van der Stoep. The arborists worked tirelessly to accomplish the move over a weekend. … Kay Nakao, a daughter of one of the students who originally planted the trees, was present to see the move accomplished. She was present in 1935 when her father was one of those who planted the trees. It was a very emotional moment for her as she recalled the original plantings and the effort that was made to save the trees. To quote Kay Nakao “It is something special that every season when the blossom blooms, we have “hanami” or flower viewing. It is a feeling hard to describe – of peace and an appreciation of beauty”

The trees presented a technical challenge since they were going to be transplanted in May, at flowering time. …. For Olaf Ribeiro, the arborist in charge of the move, the challenge was well worth it since it was important to save the trees to keep Island traditions and history alive.

 The moving of these trees to their present location generated much local interest. A selection of some of the comments is given below:

April 14, 2007: Bainbridge Review: History faces the ax. Activists hope to save cherry trees in the way of BHS expansion. “Ribeiro along with island historian Gerry Elfendahl, members of the nonprofit Kitsap Trees and Shoreline Association and a small group of students are scrambling to save the trees. Lacking time and money, the group is looking for all the help they can get

 May 17, 2007: Kitsap Sun: Volunteers Dig In for a long Day to save historic cherry trees. “Sakai Intermediate School is the proud owner of three historically significant trees, after an all-day effort by a couple of dozen workers and a small army of supporters.

The transfer from Bainbridge High School was an all-day project. Island arborist Olaf Ribeiro called the transfer a big success”

  May 19, 2007: Bainbridge Islander: Island cherry trees to be spared from the ax: “Sue Cooley of Bainbridge Island has made a donation to have three cherry trees at Bainbridge High School moved to nearby Sakai Intermediate School”.

 May 30, 2007: Bainbridge Review: Tree effort brought out best in Island.  A letter to the Review by Clarence Moriwaki expressing gratitude for saving the trees....” a tree weaves a story, a history of time. Look up and listen and together you’ll climb”.

 May 14, 2008: Bainbridge Review: A Celebration of Cherry Trees. Gerald Elfendahl wrote a column on the successful celebration of the First Annual Cherry Blossom Festival. “Students played Japanese folk songs and shared haiku read aloud and artistically written on decorated paper that fluttered among the blossoms. One read, “Pink blossom, softly swaying in the wind, floating in puddles”. No puddles this day – though maybe a few happy tears! Eagles and billowing white clouds like giant blossoms filled a sunny sky ........”


Previous awards and recognition for Olaf include:


·         History Hero Award from the Bainbridge Historical Museum.

·         Hometown Hero Award by the Bainbridge Symphony Orchestra.

·         Environmentalist Award – Assoc. of Bainbridge Communities 2015

·         Education Award   International Society of Arboriculture, PNW Chapter. 2010

·         Wall Street Journal front page article – Oct. 13, 2006. God Can Make Tree, But Olaf Ribeiro Can Save its Life.

·         NBC Today Show- July 17, 2007.  Tree Doc – An American Story. Bob Dotson.

·         Featured on Channel 5 Evening Magazine for saving historic cherry trees. October 2007. 

·         Cherry Blossom Award by the Consul General of Japan for work in saving historic cherry trees. April 18, 2008

·         Featured as one of the Island Stewards in the book, In Praise of Island Stewards by Joel Sackett. 1998. 





In Recognition of Dr. Olaf Ribeiro,

Champion of Trees

City of Bainbridge Island, Washington State

A Proclamation declaring May 17th as Dr. Olaf Ribeiro Day on Bainbridge Island; affirming the community’s appreciation of Dr. Olaf Ribeiro, Champion of Trees, and his work on behalf of Bainbridge Island’s community forests inspired by his profound knowledge of the many ecological, cultural, and economic benefits trees and forests provide to the community, the region, and humans worldwide.

Status: Draft

Date introduced to City Council:

Date to be taken up by the City Council:
City Council Sponsors: Rasham Nassar and Christy Carr


Proclamation _________________

A Proclamation declaring May 17th as Dr. Olaf Ribeiro Day on Bainbridge Island; affirming the community’s appreciation of Dr. Olaf Ribeiro, Champion of Trees, and his work on behalf of Bainbridge Island’s community forests inspired by his profound knowledge of the many ecological, cultural, and economic benefits trees and forests provide to the community, the region, and humans worldwide.

WHEREAS, Olaf was first introduced to plants by his mother in Kenya: he became curious about trees and “how they managed to grow so big and survive so many years”; growing up, he observed the universal appeal of trees for their calming effect on people; over years spent gaining advanced degrees in Plant Pathology, saw that there were few experts who possessed his expert knowledge and dedication to saving trees; and

WHEREAS, while Dr. Olaf Ribeiro’s appreciation for trees is rooted in science, it also has aesthetic, historical, and spiritual dimensions; and


WHEREAS, Olaf was born in Nairobi, Kenya, in a family originally from Goa, India; he attended the Technical High School in Nairobi, went to England to complete a pre-college curriculum, and returned to Egerton Agricultural College in Kenya; sponsored by an Agency for International Development scholarship, he earned Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Plant Pathology at West Virginia University; between 1972 and 1981 he was a Faculty Research Associate at the University of California, Riverside; he became a world authority on the pathogen Phytophthora, which in many different species afflicts both food stocks and forests; and


WHEREAS, in California, focused first on diseases afflicting citrus and avocado crops, Olaf’s interests gradually shifted to forests and the growth, longevity, and morbidity of trees, contributing to a decision to move to Bainbridge Island in 1981; and

WHEREAS, in 1991 Bainbridge Island would be incorporated as a city and embrace the stewardship principles promoted by Olaf and other Islanders; and

WHEREAS, over the years, Olaf’s devotion to the protection of trees on Bainbridge Island would put him at odds with development interests, he would continue to be an irrepressible defender of trees and all that remains of the natural environment; and

WHEREAS, Olaf would work in the late 1990s to successfully advocate for the retention of the large red oak and chestnut trees at Harbor Square, both of which would be designated Heritage Trees by the City in 2000, and in 2002 would rescue a large maple tree when the Martinique was demolished on Eriksen Avenue, moving it to Bainbridge Performing Arts; and

WHEREAS, Olaf would co-found the Murden Cove Preservation Association, dedicated to environmental protection, and was a member of the City’s first Forestry Commission; and

WHEREAS, in 2002 Olaf would be featured in photographer Joel Sackett’s book, In Praise of Island Stewards, where he would say, “The rapid development of previously forested areas around the world is destroying our fragile ecosystems.  Saving trees has become urgent and of paramount importance.  Being a ‘tree steward’ is sometimes difficult, as the recent decision to down the maples on Winslow Way East illustrates.  Trees evoke strong emotions in each one of us.  Nevertheless, I continue to work to inform urban communities along the West Coast, through lectures, writings, and on-site visits, on the need for trees in our lives.”

WHEREAS, on May 17, 2007 Olaf would help move historic cherry trees displaced by construction at Bainbridge High School to Sonoji Sakai Middle School.  The trees were planted in 1933 by the Island’s Japanese American Issei (first generation) to honor the first class of graduating Nisei (second generation) from Bainbridge High School and can now be seen on the hillside above the Sakai middle school parking lot; and

WHEREAS, for several years Olaf would lead heritage tree walks in Winslow to share his knowledge and appreciation of trees with the community; and

WHEREAS, Olaf was an inspiration and contributor to the 2019 City of Bainbridge Island Resolution, Celebrate Trees Earth Month Bainbridge Island, which includes: WHEREAS, the citizens of Bainbridge Island recognize that the forests of Bainbridge Island have existed here for many thousands of years, providing habitat for a diverse community of plants and animals, as well as for the area’s first inhabitants, purifying the air and water; and supporting a rich diversity of life; and

WHEREAS,  In 2019, Olaf worked with the school district and community members to save the Japanese maple at Blakely Elementary School from destruction by raising the funds and coordinating the work to have the tree moved from the path of redevelopment and placed at the entrance to the new school where it is a centerpiece of the new landscaping and a joy to observe in every season; and

WHEREAS, during a speech in recognition of Olaf in February of 2019 at the Bainbridge Historical Museum the following was said: Dr Ribeiro walks his own talk every day as he collaborates with groups and individuals to think about intentional growth, lobbies City Hall for stronger protections for trees, plants saplings in our public parks, and like a mad-scientist, mixes up microbe-mycelial cocktails to save heritage trees in Downtown Winslow by healing their root systems. His generosity is bar-none. He gives from his heart, he's tenacious, and most importantly he loves Bainbridge Island.

… His expertise, generosity of spirit and humor inspire us every day”; and

WHEREAS, for the past three decades Dr. Olaf Ribeiro has been a tireless inspiration to citizens and city officials alike, saving and healing trees, and sharing his love and knowledge of trees, and in so doing contributing to the creation of progressive policies and regulations to protect trees and the natural environment: NOW, THEREFORE,


The City Council of the City of Bainbridge Island declares May 17th to be Dr. Olaf Ribeiro, Champion of Trees, Day on Bainbridge Island.

Adopted by the City Council the ____ day of ____________________, 2021, and signed by me in open session in authentication of its adoption this________ day

of ______________________, 2021.


Mayor ___________of the Bainbridge Island City Council




Friday, April 16, 2021

Ken Pereira


Ken Pereira

A Star Next Door


Ken is the son of Hubert & Audrey Pereira (originally from India, with relationships in Dar & Kampala).  Ken is also the nephew of Uganda star cricketer Charlie DeSouza. (Field Hockey Canada)


Field Hockey Ontario is happy to share the sixth of many posts in our new series of content titled "Where are they now?" This series will highlight alumni from FHO, their playing, coaching, and umpiring careers, and what they are doing now. We are happy to introduce our sixth individual, Ken Pereira. Please enjoy this write-up on Ken's Field Hockey experience and what he does in the present, as written by Ken himself.

Ken was first introduced to hockey through Charlie and Johnny D’Souza, Ken’s uncle and cousin. He was 16 and played for the GOA junior team. He continued playing with the GOA Golds, with his brother Chris, and then played for the GOA Reds. He began playing for Ontario at the U18 level. He broke into Team Canada via the indoor team, playing in the 1993 Glenfiddich International in Scotland. He was then given a shot on the outdoor team in 1994, at age 21, and never looked back.

Ken played in many major competitions, 1995 Pan American Games, 1998 Commonwealth Games, and 1998 World Cup, but the competition that really put him on the map for Canadian hockey fans was the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg. In a quintessential Pan American final, it was a Canada vs. Argentina battle. Ken scored the game’s only goal, late in the first half, making no mistake with a loose ball in the circle. The photo of Ronnie Jagday and Ken celebrating his goal is a Canadian field hockey classic and was the inspiration for the Field Hockey Canada logo.

Ken went on to play in the Sydney Olympic Games, living out his childhood dream. Shortly thereafter, after playing in his second Commonwealth Games, Kenny picked up his indoor stick again, this time to play in the first Indoor Pan American Cup - the qualifier for the 2003 Indoor World Cup. Team Canada didn’t drop a point through the entire competition and sailed into the Indoor World Cup, where they finished 5th - the highest the Canadian Men have placed at a World Cup. Ken again competed in the 2005 Indoor Pan American Cup and, on home court in Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada won the tournament with a 5-3 win over Trinidad and Tobago in the final, securing their spot in the 2007 Indoor World Cup.

It was around this time that Ken moved to Holland to play in the Dutch League. Ken played for 5 years with top club HGC, and in his final year, secured the EHL Championship in 2011 with Canadian teammate Rob Short. Ken also played in the India Hockey League in 2012, captaining the Pune Strykers to the finals.

After a few more years of tours and tournaments, the 2007 Rio Pan Am Games couldn’t come soon enough for Ken and his Canadian compatriots. Canada squeaked out the narrowest of wins against Argentina in the final, with a sudden death penalty stroke victory, earning a spot for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The Canadian team then went on to qualify for the 2010 World Cup.

It’s hard to find career highlights after five Pan American Games, four Commonwealth Games, one EHL championship, three Indoor World Cups, two World Cups, and two Olympic Games, but Ken managed to add a unique feat: he was the first member of a team sport to be named a Canadian flag bearer at the Commonwealth Games, leading Team Canada into the opening ceremonies of the Delhi Games in 2010.

Soon after in 2011, Ken, along with Rob Short, broke the legendary Bubli Chohan’s record for most international matches for team Canada. He finished his outdoor career with 348 international caps.

He captained the Canadian team at the 2014 Indoor Pan American Cup to victory and played another Indoor World Cup in 2015. Ken, at the ripe age of 47, continues to play indoor with the national team - they are currently waiting on COVID restrictions to lift to play in the next Pan American Cup, the World Cup qualifier.

Nowadays, Ken still plays hockey but has shifted gears with his day-to-day, working as a medical attendant/ patient transfer driver. Ken, along with his partner Leigh Sandison (another Ontario hockey vet), became parents in 2020, and are looking forward to their little boy picking up a stick. Ken has definitely missed his hockey coaching family (John Desouza, Lou Mendonca, Reg Pereira, Cass Mendonca, and Sean Pereira) during the pandemic. Over the last few years, Ken has been heavily involved with coaching all ages in the provincial outdoor program and indoor national program with this crew of coaches. Ken also coaches many schools in the Toronto area and his own club, OKD.

Ken looks forward to COVID restrictions being lifted and continuing to give back to the sport that gave him so much.

Thank you, Ken, for sharing your experience with the FHO Community. Now you know where Ken is now!


Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Death of Ill Talal, a super Tusker


From a friend: A former student of mine who lives in Kenya sent me this sad item on the death of one of Africa's few remaining "Super Tuskers".


Today we have lost a Tsavo Icon. Mourning IL TALAL one of Africa’s last great Super “Tuskers”

It is with great sadness that today we report on the death of IL Talal, one of Tsavo’s most iconic and well-loved super tuskers.  He was well known for his long symmetrical ivory that touched ground. He was a shy elephant and often in the company of 2 or 3 other bulls (his askari’s or bodyguards). He lived close to human settlements on the edge of the Tsavo West National Park. 

We first caught wind that IL Tala had been suffering from a suspected spear wound in late Feb. Our partners MWCT informed us immediately and two treatments have been carried out since with the KWS veterinary unit (supported by DSWT). IL Talal seemed to be making a good recovery. He was monitored daily by MWCT scouts and all seemed ok, but sadly he died last night. The post-mortem diagnosis confirmed that IL Talal died from a twisted colon, which is believed to sometimes occur after heavy rains bringing on an abundance of succulent plants, which has been the case recently.

Tsavo Trust has been enthusiastically monitoring IL Talal for the last 8 years and MWCT has known him for the last 20 years. 

There are positives to be taken from the death of IL Talal: he has lived a full life and died in his twilight years; he has also undoubtedly spread his tusker genes widely; he has brought together conservation partnerships (such as the Tusker monitoring carried out by MWCT & TT - Big Tusker project) and his ivory was recovered (and did not fall into the wrong hands) as a result of this consistent monitoring. 


Check out these tusk statistics!



weight 100.5lbs

Length from lip: 74 inches 

Total length: 95 inches WOW!!!

Lip circumference: 17.5 inches 


The harm in writing we don't think twice about

 Before you write your next phrase that you take for granted, ready this:


The 9 am Mass

  The 9 am Mass SOMETIMES I am struck by the fervor of some Catholics. Sometimes they are fanatical and border on fundamentalism. They are...